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Monday, January 03, 2011

Septuagint rendering of Isaiah 52:7 MT

Take a look at the LXX rendering of Isaiah 52:7:

Is. 52:7 ...‏ ‏אמר לציון מלך אלהיך   

λέγων Σιων βασιλεύσει σου ὁ θεός

The pronominal suffix for אלהיך Elohim when it is rendered in the Septuagint (LXX) normally follows the substantive: ὁ θεός σου. I set up a search of MT for all occurrences of Elohim with a pronominal suffix. I set up another search of the LXX for  [ὁ] θεός preceded by a personal pronoun limited to the contents of the first search. I found 24 matches. I attached a window with E. Tov's MT-LXX database and looked at all of them. Only in Isaiah 52:7 did I find this pattern. MT-LXX database had an attached note to σου ὁ θεός for  Is. 52:7 indicating that the MT sequence was reversed in the LXX.

This text Isaiah 52:7 was brought to my attention because it is used by the author of  11Q Melchizedek (aka 11Q13, 11Qmelch).

In the LXX [ὁ] θεός renders different names for God so I decided to do a search for [ὁ] θεός preceded by a personal pronoun and exclude all the matches from the first search. This isn't bomb proof but I figured it was good enough. I am not writing a dissertation.

The only text of interest was Ex. 15:2, poetry:

Ex. 15:2 βοηθὸς καὶ σκεπαστὴς ἐγένετό μοι εἰς σωτηρίαν οὗτός μου θεός καὶ δοξάσω αὐτόν θεὸς τοῦ πατρός μου καὶ ὑψώσω αὐτόν

οὗτός μου θεός renders ‏ זה אלי

E. Tov in the MT-LXX database tagged μου θεός as a different sequence from the the MT. I looked through

What this does not cover is words other than [ὁ] θεός used to render a divine title or name in the LXX. On the other hand, we do see a pattern, that a Greek pronoun rendering a Hebrew  pronominal suffix normally follows the [ὁ] θεός which is just what we would expect from looking at other substantives.


Anonymous Mike Aubrey said...

Isaiah 52:7 is natural Greek. Clitic pronouns are pulled forward from their default post-(syntactic)head position by a particularly salient (and thus particularly accented word/constituent.

On *extremely* rare occasions, clitics can be pulled backward. The only instance of this I've ever seen is Act 24:14 ὁμολογῶ δὲ τοῦτό σοι, where the τοῦτό is cataphoric. But this kind of example makes it rather clear that its sentence stress that causes the pulling.

My view of what's going on in Isaiah 52:7 is that the translator has interpreted βασιλεύσει as being particularly salient.

I don't know if you've followed any of my posts on clitics over the past year, but this is one of my main conclusions--the two most relevant posts are HERE and HERE. I hope to submit my analysis for publication this coming spring. Mark Janse has come to similar conclusions.

If you haven't read either of those before and have some thoughts, I'd appreciate it. Anyway, that's how I view these two texts that you've found here. In Ex 15:2, οὗτός again receives strong enough stress to pull the clitic forward.

3:47 PM  
Blogger The Apologetic Front said...

Other than some word order differences among other things, what is the significance of these finds? Are there some theological implications involved? I might have gotten lost in some of the details, as I am just now covering pronouns in my Greek studies :-)

7:53 PM  
Blogger C. Stirling Bartholomew said...

Hi Mike Aubrey,

I have no argument with your proposal, I will have to go back an look again at you posts. However, I think that LXX greek needs to be evaluated one book at a time. The different translators, sometimes more than one per book, have very different methods. In the five books of Moses you can often see the bone structure of the Hebrew syntax through the Greek. Therefor, LXX renderings of pronoun suffixes are 99.9% of the time going to follow the head. I revised my search setup and ran the whole process again with EL, ELOH, EOHIM, ... I still came up with only two examples. Almost was faked out by Neh. 5:19 13:14 13:22 13:31. The pattern: MNHSQHTI MOU hO QEOS renders zkhrh-ly ’lhy which is a verb+sufix prep+sufix Elohy+sufix. MOU reprents the prep+sufix and the suffix with Elohy isn't translated. This one almost stumped me and it made go back and look at Ex 15:2 and Isa 52:7.

I'll get over and look at your stuff in the next couple of days. Thanks for the comment.

10:02 PM  
Blogger C. Stirling Bartholomew said...

Hi Mike Felker,

The preposed pronoun in Isa 52:27 and Ex 15:2 represents a noun pronominal suffix in the MT. I don't think this very common. I was only interested in QEOS, EL, ELH, ELOH, ELOHIM, so I didn't look at nouns in general. The divine titles and names tend to form own patterns that are much rigid (stereotyped) than other nouns.

There isn't any obvious theological ramifications that jump out at me. But I go back an forth between linguistics and theology. I try to do both at the same time.

Thanks for your comment. I am still work on Melchizedek, one of these days I will learn to spell it. The problem with this 2nd Temple Judaism thing is there is no end to the tunnel. Once you enter that tunnel you never come out the other end. It is a means of getting yourself sidetracked indefinitely. I am kind of leaning toward Bauckham's evaluation of the whole angelology and deified hero thing. I think the popularity of this stuff is fueled by an agenda to throw stumbling blocks in that path of people who want to do orthodox theological study of the scriptures, the whole SBL/ETS circus is all about how obscure a paper you can write and present to a small group of people who are nodding out during your presentation and probably thinking about where the are going for dinner.

Thanks for your comment.

10:25 PM  
Anonymous Mike Aubrey said...

Oh, I definitely agree that LXX translators need to be evaluated one book at a time.

What's striking is that in the Pentateuch, Exodus is generally viewed as better Greek than the rest of the Pentateuch. Exodus uses δε to translate waw more than the other four books rather than the stereotyped και and significantly, we find more fronted clitic pronouns than in the other four too. And the pattern is consistent: they're pulled forward by Focal constituents and particularly salient Topical constituents.

8:27 AM  
Blogger C. Stirling Bartholomew said...

Mike Aubrey,

Good we are on the same page anyway.

I ran this by an expert on Hebrew poetry and LXX scholar who prefers to remain anonymous. He said:


To me, this is possible in Greek but highly unusual in LXX.

The other example:


I explained as the quest for better rhythmic similarity:
makes a better rhythmic pattern than
Pietersma disagreed with the whole approach, BTW.
:end quote

I am not sure Pietersma would disagree with either of these judgments but that is somewhat beside the point.

8:51 AM  
Anonymous Mike Aubrey said...

Well, the fact that he(?) describes it as a rhythmic pattern means we’re relatively on the same track, since I’m taking this to be phonological and prosodic in nature. Though because I take it as phonological in nature and thus a part of the linguistic system of the speaker/writer, I also take it to be less than a conscious (?) choice about good rhythm and more a constraint of the prosody and stress patterns of an ancient language.

I would take issue with the term “possible Greek” for the PRO NP ordering pattern. It may not be the default ordering but its still an ordering that’s found from Homer through the Medieval period. Its why Wackernagel’s Law is the way it is, which was recently (17 years ago) reinterpreted as fundamentally phonological & prosodic by Mark Janse:

Janse, Mark. “The Prosodic Basis of Wackernagel’s Law.” In André Crochetière, Jean-Claude Boulanger & Conrad Ouellon (eds.), Les langues menacées. Actes du XVe Congrès international des linguistes, Québec, Université Laval, 9-14 août 1992. Sainte-Foy: Presses de l’Université Laval, 1993, Vol. 4, 19-22.

If you can read Dutch, his dissertation is *highly* relevant here in terms of what is and is not normal Greek (as opposed to merely “possible”) and how it relates to what we seen in the LXX:

De distributie van de enclitische pronomina personalia in het Grieks van het Nieuwe Testament in het licht van de Septuaginta en de Nieuwgriekse dialekten van Klein­Azië. Een structureel­functionele analyse [The Distribution of the Enclitic Personal Pronouns in New Testament Greek in the Light of the Septuagint and the Modern Greek Dialects of Asia Minor. A Structural­Functional Analysis]. Ghent: Ghent University, Depart­ment of Latin & Greek, 1995, 2 vol., xxxvi + 370 pp. [PhD Thesis].

Also, if you can survive the horrors of Chomskyan grammar, the data presented by a recent article in Language is pretty clear too. Well, it’s clear aside from the frustrating framework. The theory independent claims are significant.

Brian Agbayani and Chris Golston. "Phonological movement in Classical Greek." Language 86.1 (2010): 133-167

10:45 AM  
Blogger C. Stirling Bartholomew said...

Mike Aubrey,

Yes, there some points of agreement but probably different frameworks represented. Not all linguists are from Amerika or even Europe.

... will not get engaged in quibbling about terminology.

My micro project on EL, Elohim ... QEOS turned up 2 cases out of a sample of 900 in the LXX. That is kind of rare.

Thanks for your comments.

11:39 AM  

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